Aug. 7, 2011
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa football team completed its third practice of the preseason Sunday. Sophomore linebacker Christian Kirksey (6-foot-2, 215 pounds) from St. Louis, spent a few moments with hawkeyesports.com, and here is what he had to say:
What have you been working on this offseason to prepare for the 2011 season?
Just working hard and making sure the team and everybody is prepared; everyone is working together and everyone is looking forward to the season. We're keeping up the hard work.
What does it mean to be part of one of the most dominant defenses in the Big Ten Conference?
It feels good to be a part of something with such great history. The team has just been working really hard and staying together; making sure everyone is staying on the same page and it just feels good to be part of a good Hawkeye team.
After all the changes the Big Ten has seen in the past year, what are your thoughts on Nebraska joining the league?
As a team, we're just ready for anyone. We play everybody the same. We play everyone like they deserve 100-percent every year. We basically treat Nebraska like any other team in the Big Ten.
How do you feel about having a Big Ten championship game this season that ensures an outright champion?
We have the same focus as if it was last year and we're trying to go and be the best we can be as a team. Hopefully if we keep playing hard, that'll take us to the top.
You were one of nine true freshmen to see action in 2010. What experience did you gain last year that you can take into your sophomore year?
Looking up at all the upperclassmen linebackers like Jeremiha Hunter, Tarp (Jeff Tarpinian) and Troy (Johnson). Just looking back at them and basically picking up everything they did and learning from them. It was a good learning experience to play behind them with everything they taught as far as coaching-wise. I think I'm pretty prepared.
What do you want to contribute to the team this season and what are your personal goals for the year?
To do the job that the team has given me. Be a good team player and make sure I stay focused and make sure the team comes first.
What team goals do you have for the Hawkeyes?
Win a Big Ten championship.
Who do you look up to most on the team as a mentor and leader?
I can truly say I look up to Mike Daniels and every position coach. Everyone is treating each other as a family member and they're there for everyone. Each player, I can talk to anyone on the team and it's just a family atmosphere and we build each other up. I look up to the whole Hawkeye family.
What are your thoughts on having an NFL season now that the lockout is over? Do you have a favorite team?
I'm just trying to work on college right now.
What makes playing inside Kinnick Stadium so special?
Playing behind such a big history. The Hawkeye nation is really big across the country, so being a part of such rich tradition is great.
What athletes did you look up to growing up?
Bob Sanders. I know he was a great Hawkeye and he's fun to watch play.
What have you learned from former Iowa linebackers?
It's all hard work, determination and effort.